I remember the discussion of 'identity politics' from the 1980s and 1990s. I've also spent a significant number of years on college campuses. So I'm well aware of the bonfire of the identities you can find in the hothouse atmosphere of academia. But after Hillary Clinton's shock loss to Donald Trump the intra-Democratic debate rapidly set on the idea that Hillary Clinton had run an 'identity politics' campaign when what was needed was a populist economic message which (in the very hackneyed version of the argument) would appeal to working class whites or (in the less hackneyed version) would appeal to middle and working class Americans across the boundaries of race, culture and region that so divide and bedevil our politics. There are realities, real decisions and strategies embedded in these arguments. But without getting too deep into those particulars, what I think is most important to say is that this is an argument mainly based on straw men that say more about the angst of inter-party antagonism and stinging defeat than the realities of what we've seen or face going forward.
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